June 13, 2013

Internet Governance Caucus supports EFF concerns regarding DRM in HTML5

catherine @ 3:01 pm

For Immediate Release

The Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus supports the Electronic Frontier Foundation concerns regarding DRM in HTML5

BERN & SUVA, June 14 2013 – The Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus adopted a statement this week supporting the formal objection lodged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) regarding the HTML Working Group’s charter.

As explained in the EFF’s objection (see link: https://www.eff.org/pages/drm/w3c-formal-objectionhtml-wg), the W3C’s Working Group responsible for developing the next version of HTML, a core technology for the World Wide Web, has published a draft specification regarding Digital Rights Management (DRM), the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification. The EFF objection seeks to invalidate the HTML Working Group’s mandate to develop DRM enabling technologies, as specified in the working group’s charter - “supporting playback of protected content”.

Much has been said about EME, especially since its advancement to First Public Working Draft status in May, 2013. Many worry about its impact on digital rights, access, fair use, privacy and innovation. Many have signified their concerns to the W3C, whether through letters, petitions and discussions, most notably on the various W3C mailing lists supporting communications of this work. Most recently, the EFF has filed a formal objection to tell the W3C that DRM has no place in HTML. The Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) wishes to lend its voice to this movement of protest. The IGC believes that the inclusion of digital rights management (DRM) in HTML5 has the potential to stifle innovation and seriously compromise the rights of end users (see statement: http://igcaucus.org/igc-statement-drm-html5).

The IGC therefore calls on the W3C to stop work on the Encrypted Media Extensions specification and revise its decision to include this work in the HTML Working Group charter.

About the Internet Governance Caucus

The policies that shape the Internet impact not only the development of the technologies themselves, but also the realization of internationally agreed human rights, social equity and interdependence, cultural concerns, and both social and economic development. Our vision is that Internet governance should be inclusive, people centered and development oriented. Our contributions to the various forums relevant to Internet governance, will strive to ensure an information society which better enables equal opportunity and freedom for all.

End

Source : Norbert Bollow & Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro
Internet Governance Caucus
http://igcaucus.org/
coordinators@igcaucus.org

Original press release (PDF)

February 4, 2013

let there be spaces in your togetherness*

catherine @ 12:16 am

Dear everybody, I am taking a break from Facebook for a while for the following reasons:

Firstly, I HATE the new ticker functionality; IT CREEPS ME OUT. I do not need to know every single thing my friends do on Facebook but, more importantly, I do not care to have my friends know every single thing I like or comment on. I actually sometimes feel spied on by some people even though I understand (or in some cases hope) that it is not intentional on their part. But it is just too much information and until Facebook offers a way to opt-out of having my every move broadcast not only to my friends but to people I do not even know, I will not be commenting or liking anyone’s posts, photos or comments or if so, very rarely. This will probably make me a very boring friend but c’est la vie. Please do not take it personally.

Secondly, a few recent articles (here and here) have also motivated the aforementioned measures I have decided to implement. I knew Facebook could use “corporate” likes to use us as unsuspecting promoters of brands or other content so I was extremely careful about the things I liked outside of personal posts, photos or comments from friends. In fact, I purposely made sure not to like anything corporate or for-profit, except for a couple of friends’ business pages as a show of encouragement. But according to the Forbes article, “Facebook is now recycling users Likes and using them to promote ‘Related Posts’ in the news feeds of the user’s friends. And one more thing, the users themselves have possibly never seen the story, liked the story or even know that it is being promoted in their name.” It is worth reading the whole Forbes article as it also mentions something I have noticed while reviewing my Activity Log recently, that I do on a regular basis, i.e. the phenomenon of “false likes”. I have found a few things in my log that I supposedly liked but that I know for a fact I never did and never would. Facebook conveniently attributes this to user error but I just do not buy it.

I realize I have a fairly public life on the Web but to a certain extent, I think I have done a reasonably adequate job of controlling it (or at least I like to think I have). And when I joined Facebook last February, I knew I was giving up some privacy and I knew that Facebook is evil (although obviously, I did not know to what extent). But I hoped that the rules and conditions would remain somewhat consistent and clear. This has undeniably not been the case. And to be honest, since I became very sick, Facebook has really helped me stay connected to friends and family especially. But I believe that these latest changes and what I consider to be violations to my privacy and my rights as a user are just too much for me. I hope things will get better but Facebook has received numerous questions and complaints regarding the first matter I mentioned and so far, they have completely ignored the issue. This brief statement is the only information that I was able to find from Facebook that almost addresses the concerns I have. Clearly, that is insufficient as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, I can easily be found in less intrusive places on the Internet and for those who still remember how, there is always email.

Peace.

This post is a slightly edited version of the latest status update I posted to Facebook yesterday.

* The quote is from Kahlil Gibran

March 9, 2011

help save public Internet access in Canada

catherine @ 7:23 pm

Seems like only yesterday, I was blogging about the possible end to the Community Access Program (CAP) and its Youth Initiatives, which provide affordable access to the Internet and training programs for disadvantaged populations in Canada. But actually, I first wrote about the Community Access Program way back in 2007.

And as I write these words tonight, I realize there is a reason why this feels so fresh and that is because this is the story every year, or so it seems. Every year, the federal government threatens to cut the program and every year, numerous communities in Canada mobilize and bring the program back from the brink. For example, see Michael Geist’s blog post on the subject from March 2010.

So it is the story again this year and I hope you will all do what you can to support the various initiatives working towards ensuring the survival of this crucial program. Write to the Prime Minister and Tony Clement, Industry Canada minister responsible for this program. Write to your Member of Parliament, to your mayor and to anyone else you think can help make a difference.

The good folks at Internet for Everyone, spearheaded by the awesome Communautique, have made things easy for you by even enabling you to write to all these people with a simple click of your mouse (or whatever other device you use). So you see, you really have no excuse not to take a few minutes to support this initiative.

Go! Mobilize! Save the CAP!

February 28, 2011

amended judgment in the Jodhan case

catherine @ 3:24 am

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in the following article are my own and, as far as I know, do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations I am affiliated with.

If you blinked, you may have missed the amended judgment in the Jodhan case, rendered February 09 2011 following the Government of Canada’s motion for reconsideration filed last December. That motion came shortly after the initial ruling in the case which awarded victory to Ms. Donna Jodhan, a blind woman who sued the government for the lack of accessibility of federal government websites.

The November 29 2010 ruling stipulated, among other things, that the Government of Canada had indeed violated Ms. Jodhan’s Charter rights by failing to monitor the application of its own web standards, the Common Look and Feel standards (CLF), which contain a number of accessibility requirements to ensure “equitable access to all content on Government of Canada websites“. The ruling also declared that the government has a constitutional obligation to bring itself into compliance with the Charter within 15 months.

Continue reading amended judgment in the Jodhan case

February 16, 2011

a11y cat[1]

catherine @ 6:01 pm

This is a post I wrote last April 2010 at the height of the whole #a11y vs. #AxS debate that gripped the Accessibility community on twitter at the time. The plan was to chime in, to make it clear what I thought about this whole thing and why I feel the way I do. Note that a large part of the contents of this post were taken, with some adjustments, from an email I wrote to a dear friend at the time. Indeed, I had decided to stop tweeting about it and to write an email, not because I did not want to discuss this subject publicly but because I felt that this was not a discussion that could be well served 140 characters at a time.

And then I thought I should probably commit to collective memory my perspective on the issue and write a blog post about it. But obviously, I never published the article because I kind of got tired of the whole subject and decided to just do my own thing. But, I was called out on this issue again today so I think it will just be easier to post the gawd damn thing and have it over with.

So anyway, last April on twitter, it was proposed that people start using the #AxS (as in “access”) hashtag in lieu of the #a11y (as in “accessibility”) hashtag (see John Foliot’s blog post on the story for more background). My impression is that the primary motivation here was to gain 1 character in tweets. And it seems to me that every other argument was secondary to the goal which, again, was to gain 1 character in tweets. So, lets have a look at some of these arguments[2].

Continue reading a11y cat[1]

February 2, 2011

le collectif « Article 47 » pour l’accessibilité numérique des services publics français

catherine @ 12:05 pm

Nos cousins français ont décidé de prendre les grands moyens afin d’inciter le gouvernement de la France à respecter ses obligations en matière d’accessibilité numérique de l’État. Le 28 janvier dernier, plusieurs acteurs du Web en France ont diffusé une lettre ouverte sommant le gouvernment de s’activer et de poser des gestes concrets pour s’assurer que les objectifs fixés par la loi du 11 février 2005 soient atteints dans les délais prescrits.

Cette lettre ouverte fait donc le point à mi-parcours sur l’application de l’article 47 de la loi, qui oblige les services en ligne de l’État, des collectivités territoriales et des établissements publics qui en dépendent à être accessibles.

Le décret d’application de cet article, paru le 14 mai 2009, impose un délai de trois ans (ramené à deux pour les services en ligne de l’État) pour la mise en conformité. Or, comme le relate mon estimé homologue Victor Brito, « en ce début d’année 2011, force est de constater qu’il y a encore du pain sur la planche et le constat est sans appel : la très grande majorité des services de communication publique en ligne des services de l’État et des collectivités territoriales restent aujourd’hui inaccessibles aux personnes handicapées ».

Continue reading le collectif « Article 47 » pour l’accessibilité numérique des services publics français

January 18, 2011

overkill: Canadian government files appeal in the Jodhan case

catherine @ 2:00 pm

As I mentioned briefly in an update to my January 1 post on the Jodhan ruling, the federal government has filed an appeal in addition to their motion for reconsideration. Apparently, an appeal on a protective basis was filed on December 29 2010, giving the government an extra ten days to appeal the November 29 decision and the appeal itself was then filed on January 7 2011.

This information took a while to become public (probably, as the court officer I spoke to speculated, because it lay around on someone’s desk for a while). Anyway, I have since received a copy of the government appeal that I am reproducing in its entirety hereafter (it is not available online but it is public).

Continue reading overkill: Canadian government files appeal in the Jodhan case

January 1, 2011

federal government files a motion for Reconsideration in the Jodhan case

catherine @ 7:18 pm

Update: Since the publication of this post, the Government of Canada has filed an appeal in addition to the motion for reconsideration. From what I understand, an appeal on a protective basis was filed on December 29 2010, giving the government an extra ten days to appeal the November 29 decision and the appeal itself was then filed on January 7 2011. This information took a while to be published on the Court Index and Docket website and I was only made aware of these developments on January 10 so please keep this in mind while reading this post. These developments do not however change the opinions expressed herein. I will try to write a follow-up soon. (CR - 11-01-2011)

Disclaimer: I want to make absolutely clear that any views expressed in the following article are my own and, as far as I know, do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations I am affiliated with. Also, I know a lot of individuals who work in government and the following views are not in any way a judgment on their commitment and their work. Finally, I am not a lawyer. And I do not play one on TV.

For the last month or so, many people in Canada had been waiting to find out whether or not the Canadian government would appeal the decision in the case of Donna Jodhan v. the Attorney General of Canada. The Government of Canada had 30 days to appeal the judgment rendered by the Honourable Justice Kelen on November 29. On that day, the Judge essentially ruled that the inaccessibility of federal government websites is a violation of Article 15 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it constitutes discrimination based on disability towards Ms. Jodhan and others with visual impairments. The ruling further stated that the Canadian government had 15 months (now roughly 14 and counting down) to make its websites more accessible.

Continue reading federal government files a motion for Reconsideration in the Jodhan case

December 5, 2010

the thin accessibility line

catherine @ 12:39 pm

Recently, I posted a link on twitter, a youtube video, that was not very accessible to either blind or deaf people. It is the kind of material that makes particular use of those two senses: vision and hearing. Of course, with proper captions for the deaf and audio descriptions for the blind, it could be much more accessible. But unfortunately, that was not the case. I came across this link reading someone’s blog and being a cat person myself, I totally tripped out on this video and had to share it. And even knowing that some people in my twitter stream would not have access to the whole experience, as someone who sees and hears without much difficulty, I posted it anyway.

Continue reading the thin accessibility line

November 19, 2007

the end of public access?/la fin de l’accès public ?

catherine @ 12:42 pm

The Community Access Program and its Youth Initiative, which provide affordable access to the Internet and training programs for disadvantaged populations in Canada, are in grave danger of disappearing. If you care about public access to the Internet (and you should), please write to Industry Canada’s minister Jim Prentice (ministre.industrie@ic.gc.ca), the Prime Minister of Canada (pm@pm.gc.ca), your Member of Parliament and your local mayor and tell them.

For more information, see the full press release below.

Le Programme d’accès communautaire à Internet et son Initiative Jeunesse, qui permettent l’accès abordable à Internet et offrent des programmes de formation aux populations desavantagées au Canada, sont en grand danger de disparaître. Si vous tenez à l’accès public à Internet (et vous devriez), écrivez au ministre d’Industrie Canada Jim Prentice (ministre.industrie@ic.gc.ca) ainsi qu’au Premier Ministre du Canada (pm@pm.gc.ca), votre député et votre maire et dites-leur.

Pour plus d’informations, veuillez consulter le communiqué de presse ici-bas.

Continue reading the end of public access?/la fin de l’accès public ?

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